Why should women read Genesis?
The purpose of the book of Genesis is to reveal the history and basic principles of God’s relationship with His people. Particularly important for women are the opening chapters in which creation order is presented as the basis for biblical womanhood. The account of God’s creation of the woman upholds her worth and reveals the divine design of her assignment as her husband’s “helper” (2:18). Genesis provides the historical basis for the rest of the Pentateuch and of the entire Bible. Throughout the book of Genesis, you can see God’s plan for the redemption of His people as He enters into covenant with them. Israel, as God’s chosen people from whom the Messiah, “the seed” of the woman, 3:14-15) would come, was the conduit for God’s redemptive work.
Throughout Genesis, God is the covenant making and covenant-keeping God.
Biblical Womanhood: Did God Establish Different Roles or Functions for?
Complementarians (who believe men and women are created equal in essence before God but have distinct roles or functions) and egalitarians (who believe that men and women are equal in essence and may have the same functions or roles) differ greatly on their interpretation of the significance of the creation account (Gn 1–2) in regard to gender roles. However, just as each member of the Trinity is equal in essence—each member is fully God—yet each has a distinct function—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. So, too, men and women, though equal in the image of God, have distinct roles assigned by God.
These distinctions are revealed in many ways, and some even before the fall. The timing of these distinctions as being present before the fall or as the result of the fall becomes a watershed issue in the gender debate.
• Adam was created first, then Eve (Gn 2:7; 1Tm 2:13; 1Co 11).
• Eve was created as a helper for Adam (Gn 2:18,20).
• Adam named Eve (2:23; 3:20).
• Adam’s name was used generically in reference to the human race (1:26).
• Adam was given his authority by God prior to Eve’s creation (2:15).
• God spoke to Adam first after the fall (3:9).
• Adam, not Eve, represents the human race (1Co 15; Rm 5).
• The curse brought a distortion of previous roles, not the introduction of new roles (Gn 3:15-19).
• The creation order was embraced and affirmed in Christ’s redemption (1Pt 3; Eph 5).
The fact that men and women have distinct functions does not mean that men are superior and women are inferior. The word “helper” used to define the woman’s function is also used to describe what God does for His people. Men and women both are created in God’s image (Gn 1:26-27) and share the responsibility of being God’s representatives on earth. The influence of feminism on Christian thought has been tragic in leading women to think that in order to be “equal” with men they must have the same functions. What they do not understand is that different functions originate within the Godhead itself: Just as wives are under the authority of their husbands, so Jesus was under the authority of the Father (Jn 5:19; 6:38). God established distinct functions for men and women; the unique genders and respective roles reflect important truths about God. Jesus did not regard equality with God something to be grasped (Php 2:6), and neither should women desire to seek what they suppose to be “equality” at the cost of refusing God ordained roles.